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Atreides & Harkonnen Ornithopters from Dune (MMS-011 & MMS-014) No Scale

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Atreides & Harkonnen Ornithopters from Dune (MMS-011 & MMS-014)

MENG via Creative Models Ltd






Dune began in the 1960s as a long-running series of books by Frank Herbert, and several attempts have been made to realise the initial book in movie form, with varying levels of success.  David Lynch made a decent, if simplified attempt at it in the 1980s, although it was a flawed movie with irritating voice-overs (from my point of view, at least), while a three-part TV movie in 2000 was considered a reasonable adaptation, but I haven’t seen that one.  This latest expedition into the deserts of Arrakis benefits from the availability of realistic Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) that can be used to enhance the scope and scale of the saga as it deserves, without looking false.  It also benefitted from a massive budget and acclaimed director, not to mention a cast of many famous actors, although David Lynch’s version also had some famous faces, including a young Patrick Stewart as Gurney Halleck before his Star Trek days.  The new film has been split into two episodes to portray as much of the book’s content as possible in an effort to retain the important parts of the original story, and part 2 has been out now for a couple of months, rounding off the original story, allegedly, with the possibility of more to come if it has made enough money for the studio, which I expect it has by now.  I haven’t seen the second part yet, so no spoilers please!


The new film of course has some great new ships, which includes a less toy-like Ornithopter, which is more insectoid and less clockwork bubble-bug than the 1984 edition.  They are quadruped aircraft with eight helicopter blade-like ‘wings’ providing the lift in an insectoid manner, and a pointed nose that incorporates expansive windscreens that probably don’t give as good a field of view forward as you’d think. 



The Kit

Each of the two Ornithopters arrives in a small end-opening box, and are similar in looks and box style to Bandai’s Vehicle series of Star Wars kits, as they too are sold without scale, and the dominant packaging colour is black, plus the stand included is functionally identical to the Bandai offering.  The instructions are printed in colour on the back of the box, and inside are four or five sprues in an olive green/brown shade of styrene, a small black sprue containing the stand parts, and a separately bagged decal sheet.  Detail is good, but due to the small scale, the canopies are solid and are later depicted by decals, and the landing gear can be posed retracted or deployed, using the stand, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the Bandai stand for either option.  There is also a small sheet that briefly discusses in four languages how to remove parts from the sprues and apply the decals that are included.   A tiny slip of white paper is folded into that sheet, but as it is all in Japanese, my phone shows that it contains contact details for Japanese purchasers to get in touch if they have a problem, and some warnings that the kit is suitable for people of 14 years or older, and to be wary of inhaling dust created by sanding.


The kits share three of the olive sprues, as the blades and landing gear are common between both, adding one more sprue for the Atreides ‘thopter that has a straight tail boom, and two for the Harkonnen vehicle, which has an alternative forward glazing and a forked tail to differentiate it quickly on screen.  They can be built as snap-together kits, but will benefit from gluing, particularly if you intend to paint and weather them, applying the decals during the process.


Construction begins with the two fuselage halves, mounting the cockpit and nose at the front, and a single-part tail for the Harkonnen ‘thopter, or a two-part straight tail for Atreides.  Atreides has four wing-root dog-bones affixed in pairs at the top and bottom of both the fuselage sides, which later receives the eight blades in either the folded position, or flared to the perpendicular outboard for flight, while the Harkonnen bird has only three per side.  The landing gear uses different parts for stowed and deployed, slotting into the underside of the fuselage.  The stand has three options of where to place the support on the base, and at the top of the support is a ball-joint that the cup clips onto, a peg on top joining it to the underside of the fuselage to give the impression of flight, and the ability to adjust the angle and bank of the model to your needs.



Common Parts to Both Kits








Atreides Ornithopter Specific Parts (MMS-011)






Harkonnen Ornithopter Specific Parts (MMS-014)








The decals pictured above are essentially the glazing of the canopies, plus a few tiny emblems for the sides and front of the fuselage that differ between the kits.  They are well-printed and suitable for the task, and the main windscreen panel includes the internal framing, but if you wish to go off-book for your paint scheme, you may consider painting the windscreens with the aid of masks instead to avoid having to match the colour on the decals.




Pocket-sized, and pocket-friendly, these kits are small enough to slip in between other models in your cabinet, and although they don’t have cockpits depicted for practical reasons, the rest of the detail is crisply defined.


Highly recommended.

Atreides Ornithopter (MMS-011)



Harkonnen Ornithopter (MMS-014)



Review sample courtesy of


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